October 21, 2010
IMG Guide Greg Vernovage sent us this update on his travels with the USA Men’s National Volleyball Team in Italy:
“It was an action packed month of travel and competition for me. I had the opportunity to travel to Italy with the USA Men’s National Volleyball Team. Coaching some of the Beijing Gold Medalists as well as some up and coming great athletes of the US was a great honor. I met the team at their training facility in Anaheim. After practicing in the US for couple weeks we set off for the World Championships in Italy.
We started in Sicily in a city named Gela. Our goal here was to adapt our bodies to the time change as well as prepare for the first round of tournament pool play. In our pool was Mexico, Venezuela and Argentina. It is one thing to be from The United States of America and have people get fired up to play against you, but combine that with the fact that we are the reigning Olympic Champions and you can be assured that you are going to get everything the opponent has and then some.
We won the first pool in Reggio Calabria, a beautiful city in southern Italy overlooking the Strait of Messina. Our next round of pool play included the Czech Republic and Cameroon. The Czech Republic cleaned our clock but we got the better of Cameroon. For my Czech climbing friends out there, Yes, you beat us and yes, I may be a better guide than coach of volleyball now, but thanks for the emails!
We came in Second in that pool which sent us to Rome. I always wanted to see the Coliseum. That place is absolutely enormous. In this round we played against France and won, if we beat Italy, the host country, we advance to the final four, lose and the best we can get is 5th. We lost and had to go to yet another city, Medona. A great thing to watch as far as patriotism goes occurred before the match against Italy. As per “International Rules”, each country has their Anthem played for 45 seconds. This keeps an even playing field. For the match against Italy, the 12,000 plus fans in the arena would not hear of anything short of their full anthem. When the Italian Anthem stopped, the crowd sang on. Sing they did, and most impressively I might add. An experience I’ll remember for a long time.
We beat Germany and lost to Russia to come in 6th at the 2010 World Championships. A decent finish, but if you know me, not first place is what I’ll remember. We’ve got time to get better before the London 2012 Games. The Team will be ready and hungry as ever.”
Greg will be back on board with IMG this winter with trips to Ecuador, Vinson, and Kilimanjaro.